Ambua Lodge – Tari Valley, Papua New Guinea

Wigmen, Birds of Paradise, and Luxury in the Wilderness

This modest luxury lodge would surprise a discerning traveler anywhere; in Papua New Guinea, it astounds. Nestled at an altitude of 7,000 feet in the Southern Highlands, it offers a bird’s-eye view of the lush rain forest of the Tari Valley, a secluded Ireland-green region that has only recently opened to the outside world.

Built with natural mate­rials, decorated with local Sepik carvings, and sporting large picture windows everywhere to take in the sweeping view, the Ambua is the ulti­mate luxury wilderness accommodation, offering fine dining, excellent Aus­tralian wines, and, to take off the highlands chill, open fireplaces in the lounge and electric mattress pads and fluffy down comforters in each of the thatched, round bungalow units. Just a few minutes down the road from all this civilization live the Huli people, only a few years removed from the Stone Age and known as the Wigmen for their flamboyant headdresses.

There is a good chance of encountering a sing-sing – a show of hopping, vocalizing, and drumming that reenacts the courtship of the male bird of paradise so revered in these parts.

Thirteen species of the bird inhabit these lush green jungles, together with hundreds of species of high-altitude orchids and miniature tree kangaroos. The Ambua’s network of nature trails will lead you to all these and more.

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